Do you think it is important to obey God? Yes? No? In any case, that’s what he expects from us. Here is the First Command he gave us: – You shall love the Lord your God, with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your strength. And what about the Second Commandment, do you know it? – You will love your neighbor as yourself. To love my fellow-man, it’s indeed what God asks me to do: – But who is my fellow-man? This is the question a religious man, a doctor of law, asked Jesus. And He answered him with a little story, a parable. You can read this story in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 10. Michel is going to tell us now and then you will be able to think about this question: What can I do for my neighbor?

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AN UNHAPPY MAN AND A STRANGER

One resident from the city of Jerusalem has decided to take a trip: – I’m going to Jericho; it’s a very nice city. I must take an important amount of money because I will need it. He put on his sandals, took his stick, carefully hid his money in his belt and here he left. The area was desert. No houses! No inhabitants! He felt very lonely. – I don’t really like this path, we always go down and it never stops zigzagging. Since I left, I haven’t met a single person, it’s really deserted here. Finally! I should be arriving soon! Suddenly, someone jumped on him; they are thieves who had hidden behind a bush. They hit him violently, threw him to the ground, tore his clothes off, took his money, and run away, leaving him covered with wounds, half-dead. He couldn’t get up or scream. He had no strength. How long did he stay there? Nobody knows. Oh! He seemed to hear footsteps, he listened attentively. Someone was coming forward on the road. He said to himself: – Here comes some help! And find regaining courage. The man who arrived was a priest. He saw the wounded man. He was very close now. He made a detour, crossed the road and walked away without looking back. The sound of his footsteps disappeared and there it is again, the silence, the abandon again. Later, another traveler passed by. He was a Levite. A man who served God in the temple. – I hope this Levite will help me, said the wounded man to himself. I can’t stay like this, I’m suffering too much! The Levite was now getting closer to him; he took at the wounded man, then rapidly walked away, leaving the unfortunate by the wayside. The hours go by. The trotting of a donkey attracted the attention of the injured man. He slightly raised the head: – Oh! It’s a stranger! A Samaritan! He’s not the one to rescue me. Jews and Samaritans, don’t love each other, we never talk to each other. He is going to pretend not to see me and like the others, he will continue his way and will leave me there. The Samaritan saw him from very far. He was moved with compassion, he had mercy on him: – What happened to this man? He was wondering. Certainly he has been attacked; there are so many thieves and robbers in this area. What a miserable condition they put him in, he is going to die if he stays here. He got off his donkey, got closer to the injured man and leaned over him. He looked at his wounds, disinfected them one by one with oil and wine, then covered them with bandages. The injured man felt better, but was unable to stand or walk: – I will not leave you there, said the Samaritan, we will continue the trip together. He lifted him up and loaded him onto his donkey. Then, they set off again, the Samaritan walking beside the injured man. After so many efforts, they arrived at the hostel, where they were able to eat and rest. The next morning, the Samaritan payed the innkeeper for himself but also for the injured man and even gave him more. He said: -I must continue my journey, but I would like you to take care of this man! Feed him and continue to heal his wounds until he is healed. I am giving you this amount of money but if you spend more on him, when I get back, I will reimburse. Make sure He’s missing nothing.

1, 2 3, 4 AND YOU AND ME! Jesus finished his story and him too asked the doctor of the law this question. I will ask you, are you ready? – Which of the three travelers do you think acted like a fellow man toward the wounded man? Found it! This is the third! The lawyer, too, gave the correct answer: – It’s the one who stopped and who took care of him. – Good thing! said Jesus, well, you go and do the same! You understand. Your neighbor is the one who is very close to you, your father, your mother, your sister, your grandmother, your boyfriend. But still he is the one you are getting closer to. When you are coming near someone, a friend who is alone, in need, in trouble, sick, and that you bring him help, well, you show that you love your neighbor. To love your neighbor as yourself, it is not only saying nice words; but it is helping, sharing, giving time, money. It is quite simply doing to others what we would have them do to us. So today, tomorrow, what are you going to do to show your neighbor you like him? Well, think about it and you will find plenty of things to do! See you soon!

4, 3, 2, 1 AND WE PARENTS! It is among the family that a child learns, from an early age, to love in convenient a way. We must teach him how to help the others, how to share, how to give. He also learns, for instance. Are we paying attention to what is going on around us? How do we look at others, those who are close to us via family bondings, friendship and strangers? How do we express our kindness, our compassion? Let’s encourage our children to obey God’s command and let’s lead them because they do not have sufficient maturity to discern situations that could be misleading or dangerous. We also have a duty to protect. Finally, let’s listen to this verse from Psalm 41: “Happy is he who cares about the poor! In the day of trouble, the Lord comes to his relief. He supports him on his bed of sufferings; He takes care of him during his illness.”